I didn’t think I’d see equality in my lifetime.
Imagine that. Thinking you’d never be equal under the law.
And now we are. I have nothing political to say except that equality and justice are my goals, now and always.
But I do have something to say. Does this really surprise anyone? Maybe only me, that this is how I want to mark the day. The personal made political, once again.
When you came back into my life in 1987, I had just gone to my first Pride Parade. Maybe that opened the door to the gift of you.
Because there I was, coming out of the closet yet again as bi-sexual, terrified of the consequences of being out–I’d seen my mother’s closeted relationship destroyed by homophobia and had been gay bashed and sexually harassed. So I was self-hating and ashamed…and just ignorant, the way only someone who had never fully entered the gay community could be ignorant.
And there you were, so butch that standing next to you outed me. There you were, taking my hand gently in yours as we walked down the street in the 1980’s, so not afraid, so proud to love me. It cracked me wide open, and if that wasn’t enough, when I said, “I’m too scared to hold your hand right now.” You said, “Okay, just let me know when you’re ready.”
When I said, “I don’t know if I’m bi or lesbian,” you said, “Well, we know you’re not straight, and that’s good enough for me.”
The tide of gentleness coming in to hold my fear without judgment, without any demand or push that I be better, without complaint for how it must have made things harder for you…the funny thing is, it made me better. In the truest way. I am the queer daughter of a lesbian mother who hid what made her happy. I have a stepmother that not one of my siblings would admit parented us. You reached into that hurt place and told me I could be exactly who I was…and that let me look at you and see pride and what pride had to offer.
I came out to my classes, I came out at church, I spoke publicly, and that was the gift you gave me. To stand up and claim myself and my part in our struggle.
When we got married, you came over to hold me the night before, remember? When we got married, you talked about the challenge of our then ten year relationship in front of all our friends, and how in spite of everything, we have always been able to laugh.
There is no unequal in loving you. There is only how grateful I am for the way you give me back to myself…and the irritation at the very same thing (yes, I’m not going to stay all sweet much longer as you well know).
Today we are equal under the law. You always seemed to know that we deserved it. And so I unlearned my mother’s tragedy, and learned my own freedom.
If I could marry you again today, I would. And tomorrow, and the next day, and then next.
Thank you for being my big-hearted, passive-aggressive, neurotic, gentle, out and proud renegade
And no, you can’t remind me I said this the next time we argue.
I love you madly,